NaNoWriMo Day 13

NaNoWriMo par: 1,667 words/day
NaNoWriMo total: 21,667 words
Personal par: 2,000 words/day
Personal total: 29,472 words

It was a rough night last night (Zach was grumpy) and so for the first time since NaNo started, I didn’t get up at 5 am to write this morning.  I felt too tired.  Of course, later I regretted it.  I like my early morning writing, it’s quiet, I feel unrushed and I’ve got nothing else pressing at 5 am. And although I managed to make up the time throughout the day, I decided that if at all possible, I’d keep to my schedule regardless of how tired I felt in the future.

Despite the altered schedule, I think today was a good writing day on a number of counts:

  1. It showed that I was capable of adapting despite an interruption to my schedule.  Even though I’m well ahead of schedule, I didn’t slack even though I had the opportunity to do so.
  2. I kept up with my personal par, despite being off-kilter today.  I managed to write a total of 2,415 words in 2 hour-long session, the first from noon to 1 pm, the second from 5-6 pm.
  3. I am beginning to notice something interesting about the novel itself:

I’ve often wondered how people do it:  how do you write an 80-, 90-, 100-thousand word novel?  How do you fill in all of the details, keep the characters and events straight, and even provide enough details on the characters without growing bored with them? Approaching the 30,000 word mark, I think I’m beginning to see how it’s done.

First, I’ve noticed that, at least for me, the characters are really beginning to come to life.  They feel real, they have real dreams and ambitions, real problems to deal with.  I think of them not as characters that I’ve created but as people out in the real world.  They are interesting and there is plenty to write about them, and plenty more still to learn about them.

Second, it’s taken me 13 days to hit 30,000 words.  In the past, that would have seemed nearly impossible to me.  But looking back on the 13 days, it really wasn’t that hard.  I had some obstacles to overcome early on, but I continued to write consistently every day, hitting at least 2,000 words (with one exception) and after exceeding that mark.  Now that I’ve got 30,000 words nearly completed, and have a list of crucial scenes for the remainder of the novel, writing another 60,000 words does not seem all that daunting.  Knowing that in another 13 days, I’ll hit the 60,000 word mark seems very reasonable, and I’m excited about what will happen in the story between now and then.

Lastly, I’ve learned not to worry too much about the quality of what I am writing at this point.  There are days when it seems like crap, and I press on; other days when I surprise myself with how easy it comes and how good it seems.  Over all, it’ll end up somewhere in the middle, but it’s only a first draft.  They key is getting it all on paper, and then (and only then) worrying about going back through it and cleaning it up. Even if the final result differs dramatically from the first cut, the first cut–worrying about the story more than the writing–has been crucial for me in getting this far.

Tomorrow will be the two week mark, and I expect to be somewhere around 32,000 words; that 16,000 words a week, which for me is truly remarkable.  Sunday is the halfway point and I should be somewhere around 35,000 words, more than 10,000 words ahead of schedule. Today I added to my list of scenes and my character timeline and they now occupy the blank wall in front of my desk.  I’ve got plenty of writing to keep me busy and I really do think I’ll hit 90,000 words.  What a great feeling that will be!